In Ispectrum Magazine we love science, so I enjoyed very much reading a novel whose main character, Lady Trent (at this point only Mrs. Isabella Camherst), adores reading books about natural history and wants to know everything about…dragons. In a Victorian environment, very hostile to women’s aspirations of studying and showing interest in topics reserved for men, she finds a way to develop her passion, which is – knowing more about dragons. Dragons, yes, dragons! Did I forget to tell you that this is a fantasy novel? Indeed, it is.
What ingredients are you going to find in this book, dear reader? That is a good question. You will find adventure and mystery, but not only this, as we are just starting to learn how Lady Trent entered into the amazing world of expeditions in search of dragons before even being Lady Trent, before even being a married woman, before even being a woman. That means that we will probably have a second part, maybe a third part… yes, a trilogy.
The story is narrated in a nineteenth century style by Lady Trent, so we can easily travel with her not only to the places which she explores, but to the interior of her feelings and desires. One of the things she will have to face very often will be her womanly condition and we will see how she has had to fight against the prejudices of the era from her earliest childhood. She makes, as well, interesting observations regarding the “gentlemen of birth” and the aristocracy in general.
From time to time, she makes sweeping affirmations, like: “There is no quick route to experience”, and from time to time, dear reader, this book rewards you with a nice feast for your eyes: the charming illustrations of Todd Lockwood. I hope you have the pleasure of reading this book, as I had, and will come back here to share your opinion about it with us. Good reading!
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.
Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
You can read an excerpt here
About the author:
American fantasy writer Marie Brennan habitually pillages her background in anthropology, archaeology and folklore for fictional purposes. She is the author of the Onyx Court series, the Doppelganger duology of Warrior and Witch, and the urban fantasy Lies and Prophecy, as well as more than forty short stories. The second memoir of Lady Trent, The Tropic of Serpents, will be published by Titan Books in June 2014.
“Fans of fantasy, science, and history will adore this rich and absorbing tale of discovery”, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“One of my favourite books of the year”, RT BOOK REVIEWS
“Courageous, intelligent and determined Isabella’s account is colorful, vigorous and absorbing…”, KIRKUS